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Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?
Where does Chicago get all that meat?
How does Venezuela get all of that heat?
And where does Adidas find all their feet?
You'd like to know the answers now, wouldn't you boys
So tell me where does he get all those wonderful toys?
The Joker (as sung by Jim Steinman)

Not every Super Hero has a headquarters; some of them don't seem to even have an apartment. But for those who do, there is a compulsion to ask, "Where did all this stuff come from?" Where are the architects, the carpenters, the masons, the cablers, the plumbers, the electricians, the welders, the tailors? It's especially likely to be asked if the character in question dosn't have magical powers or super abilities that would enable them to believably carve out the insides of a mountain for a secret hideout with their own bare hands and a spare weekend.

Sometimes, this question is just left up in the air, with the writers hoping it'll stay as Fridge Logic. Other times, they take it head-on, providing an in-character source — often, an Acme Products company or a single person who makes it their business to outfit heroes and/or villains.

Ideally, use the Applied Phlebotinum on screen for verisimilitude.

See also Infinite Supplies, Off Screen Villain Dark Matter, Homemade Inventions.

We also sell some of our own.

Not to be confused with How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Somewhat spoofed in a Volvo C70 commercial tying in with the 1997 Saint film-upon repairing Simon Templar's car, someone says "Mr. Templar, we have to wonder about your lifestyle".

     Anime and Manga 
  • Subverted in The Big O — when Big O is badly damaged in the second season, we see Roger's butler Norman simply open a back door to Roger's lair and let in a full troop of workers who promptly set about repairing the giant robot, and who vanish back into the night when their work is done. Judging from comments made by several of the workers, this isn't the first time it's happened, either.
    • What's not explained is how Roger's ownership of the Big O can be kept a secret when he has that many people working on it.
      • Security clearances and background vetting. For example, how many people work at Area 51? And how often have you heard of a secret being broken there?
  • Code Geass: Lelouch Geasses people into making/storing/etc. his stuff. Since part of his Magical Eye is that they forget his orders, it's a fairly good deal. Anything he can't get with his Geass, he gets with his silver tongue.
  • Bubble Gum Crisis is a one of the early examples. Sylia's "Silky Doll" lingerie shop and Dr. Raven's garage are fine, but it still doesn't explain where she gets the money and supplies for all that Knight Sabers business. In all faith, she really couldn't have built all that stuff in her shop, it's simply not that big. Fanon half-jokingly explains it by the fact that she's a Genom shareholder, and simply uses the company's coffers and plants, as well as consistently voting against taking any measures about Knight Sabers at any occasion.
    • She was probably bought out after the death of her father, and got a huge nest egg as a result. Also, in the original series, she charges exorbitant sums for the services of the Knight Sabers; they double as mercenaries with ethics when they aren't fighting Genom. Sometimes they actually manage to get themselves paid for doing what they would have done anyway.
  • Hellsing has a pretty good example of this, what with Alucard using custom made big bore Bottomless Magazines pistols and Seras Victoria using a frickin' BFG Taken Up To Eleven! And all supplied by the Battle Butler Walter... but it is implied that Doc and Millennium had a hand in their creation.
  • The Magdalan Order in Chrono Crusade has its own R&D department to make wonderful toys for them. The only named member of this unit is Edgar Hamilton, more commonly known as The Elder.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist - Where does Roy Mustang get an armored truck full of wonderful toys in the middle of a locked-down city? Why, from Jean Havoc
  • Space Angels in Gunnm: Last Order should've realistically survived only because they're Cyborgs — they often don't have money for food, but they still maintain a competitive Z.O.T.T. team, and most of their fighters have state-of-the-art bodies (or, in case of Zazie, equipment). It's somewhat justified by the fact that Desty Nova and Yani, who are quite well-off, use them as testbeds for their theories and prototypes, and they receive donations from their fans. They have also gotten the support of the Martian Kingdom, which, however poor, still amounts for something.
  • The titular character of Serial Experiments Lain. Where does an eighth-grader get thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment (all Mac) indeed? It's implied to be from her father, who works with computers, but it's not like her parents are incredibly wealthy or anything.
  • Subverted with Puella Magi Madoka Magica: local lead dealer Homura fills her arsenal to the brim first by cooking up her own bombs, then steals guns from the Yakuza and in late timelines from military arsenals.

    Batman 
  • Batman in nearly any incarnation: The Batcave is furnished with the latest science and computer equipment; plus the secret passages leading to it from Wayne Manor... and yet, no one seems to know about, much less have participated in, the planning and labor that went into all this stuff! Sure, Alfred may dust and tinker on gadgets, but being the Wayne caretaker surely doesn't give him time for Research and Development while Master Bruce is batting about.
    • Writer Denny O'Neil may have been the first comics scripter to work this into a storyline. During his initial encounter with Ra's al Ghul (Batman #232, 1971), Bruce Wayne is surprised by Ra's in the Batcave. He attempts to bluff it off until Ra's reminds him that someone had to buy the materials for the Batman's various gadgets... and that "someone" could be traced. Wayne concedes the point and removes his cowl to address Ra's man-to-man.
    • Batman Begins has the various gadgets as "dead end" offshoots of WayneTech R&D, donated by Lucius Fox, one of the few board members to remain loyal to Bruce during his overseas trip.
      • One scene showed how other items are purchased in bulk as anonymous components from multiple manufacturers, and assembled into their final form by Bruce and Alfred. (Upon learning that he has to order at least 10,000 ears for his cowl, Bruce comments, "Well, at least we'll have spares.")
      • Similarly, it explains the secret passages to the caves underneath Stately Wayne Manor as dating back to the Civil War and the Wayne family's involvement with the Underground Railroad.
      • Also, the film implies that the construction of the revamped Batcave will be disguised as part of the restoration of Bruce's destroyed manor.
      • However, the trope is subverted in The Dark Knight when an accountant that works for Wayne actually does notice that company property is missing and discovers to the blueprints to the Batmobile. However, Fox manages to convince him to stay quiet about it.
        "Let me get this straight: You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? Good luck."
      • His iconic line was the basis for a song in the unfinished Batman: The Musical.
      • In the third film, Bane breaks into Wayne Enterprises and steals everything except The Bat. And then it turns out the whole first half of the movie was a plot to get his hands on Wayne Enterprises' experimental reactor so he could turn it into a nuclear bomb. Of course, given his resources, he could've just smuggled his own conventional nuke in, but the whole purpose of using the reactor was revenge.
    • The comics have also established that since Bruce Wayne owns Wayne Enterprises, he depends on Lucius Fox to make the money to pay for his operations while diverting useful materials from his business as needed.
      • And who does the job of customising that material to his personal needs, say, by building hi-tech suits and vehicles in bat-like shapes? Applies for the movies as well; surely Lucius can't be building that stuff all on his own.
      • Except for the bit where he is. Bruce merely adds the bat motif (and sometimes doesn't even do that) in regards to his toys. Lucius is the one actually designing and testing them. While Bruce does occasionally do some things himself, he largely depends on Fox, at least in the films.
      • It was shown in The Dark Knight Saga that Bruce customizes everything himself. In Batman Begins, he made the Batarangs from scratch, painted the Batsuit black, and presumably gave the Tumbler a paint job as well. In The Dark Knight, he customized the ejection system of the Tumbler to become a motorcycle, recreated and expanded upon a prototype cellphone device, then added a self-destruct option without outside help. In The Dark Knight Rises, he fixed a prototype jet's autopilot.
    • Toyed with in a storyline a few years back. A foreign conglomerate had managed, through various financial tricks and wizardry, to buy out the independent companies which comprised Wayne Enterprise's R&D division right out from under Lucius and Bruce's noses. Actually, it was revealed that Jason Todd orchestrated the whole thing. Along with the rather serious implications for Wayne Enterprises as a business, Bruce later reflects on the implications for Batman. He mentions several unique items used by Batman, saying that eventually those items will be made available in the public sector, while he will have no further access to new gadgets other than those he can create himself in his spare time. After Alfred remarks that he thinks that Batman has more than enough toys to last him for quite awhile, Bruce brings up the additional worry that someone will notice that Batman has been and is still using Wayne Enterprises proprietary technology and begin to put two and two together.
    • Batman: The Animated Series introduces the character of Earl Cooper, the Batmobile's designer/mechanic who performs the necessary repairs that are beyond Batman's time or ability. The Penguin is able to find Cooper after he orders a series of dead-giveaway parts that could only be for the Batmobile, in his own name. Batman responds by having his "... backers" set up "dummy corporations" for Cooper to order from so that no one will track him down again. This is probably just a euphemism for hiding more crimefighting behind Wayne Enterprises expenditures.
    • In "Under the Hood" it's made pretty certain that most of his stuff is attained through WayneTech's various R&D and subcompanies, thus allowing him to get power bombs, chemicals and gadget even before the military gets their hands on them.
    • In one of the Batman novels, it was stated that the Batcave was built by (well-paid) foreign workers, secretly assembled and transported to Gotham, who only worked outside the cave at night, never saw Bruce Wayne, and were flown home again, all without them having any idea where in the world they had been working.
    • Also, it wouldn't be very hard to fool the staffs who potentially work on this stuff, as it's not like defense contractors would broadcast the details of whatever black ops gadgets the U.S. government is paying them to develop. Thus, they might well not want to know who uses it once they get it up to the field testing stage.
    • A song with this trope's title actually appears in the demo recording of Jim Steinman's Batman musical.
    • There's a character named Harold Allnut, a mute hunchback with a gift for technology that Batman took in to help with the Batcave's gadgetry. It doesn't explain all the gadgets Batman had before he met Harold (maybe Alfred's just that good).
      • In Gotham City Sirens it is revealed that there is a villainous real-estate broker who seems to supply hideouts for Batman's Rogues Gallery.
      • An old story called Neutral Ground revealed that a good number of the unique gadgets used by both Batman and a portion of his Rogues Gallery are made to order by an old man that owns a hardware store.
    • Since Bruce Wayne's return from the events of Final Crisis, Bruce has publicly gone on record saying that Wayne Enterprises has been funding Batman's war on crime through his gear and has created a new organization: Batman Incorporated.
    • Funding aside, none of this explains how any of this stuff gets into the Batcave. Even today, mainframe computers and the associated storage arrays are very big and heavy. It's going to take more than two guys to move the equipment in.
    • One could just as easily apply this question to many of Batman's villains, most notably the Penguin and The Joker. The Penguin is widely known for his use of trick umbrellas, while the Joker has used everything from acid-squirting flowers to electrified joybuzzers to razor-sharp playing cards.
  • The Trope Namer is The Joker in Tim Burton's Batman. In one scene Batman rescues reporter Vicki Vale from the Joker's clutches using a zipline gun, and the Joker asks his men "Where does he get those wonderful toys?" Used again later on when Batman uses the Batwing to steal all his poison-filled balloons, causing the Joker to scream why nobody told him he had one of those things.
    • The Riddler has a whole freaking island fortress in Batman Forever. Assuming he had the foresight to commission this building project before he lost his scientist job, it still begs the "who built it" question.
    • It's not explained all that well (due to really horrible editing) but pay very close attention to the background scenery when Nygma gives his big press conference: behind him there is a huge sphere of green glass and a light-box bearing the NYGMATECH logo. It's obviously intended to be the beginning of the Nygmatech "corporate headquarters" located on Claw Island, built from the ill-gotten profits of the Riddler and Two-Face's crime spree. Later additions, such as the giant replica of the Box, are constructed as the Boxes are sold as consumer goods. This is made much clearer in the Peter David novelization.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, one of Riddler's patient session recordings has him ranting about Batman, and how he could possibly finance his operation. He quite wrongly assumes that he steals from villains he stops, and uses this to back his argument that Batman is the worst criminal of all. There is a minor explanation given in a chat with Oracle as to how Batman got a backup Batcave onto Arkham Island, but its security is notoriously lax.
    • The detective mode reveals that the new security system with the forcefield doors are donated by Wayne Tech. That's how Bats got his Bat-cave in there. There are a couple of places that also make reference to Bruce Wayne contributing to restoration of various places in Arkham Asylum, further explaining the presence of many things convenient for Batman within the asylum.
  • Again with the Joker in LEGO Batman 2, after Batman defeats him in the beginning. Subverted somewhat as the wonderful toy in question (the Batwing) was not used to defeat him as soon as they entered the parking lot.
    Joker: Where DOES he get these unbreakable toys?!
  • In The Batman, D.A.V.E, an A.I composed of various criminal personalities, managed to figure out Batman's identity. One of the factors he mentioned that he used to narrow down the population was the wealth and resource capacity needed to create all the equipment the Batman used.
    • Further data he uses is age, gender, and people who'd have a motivation. This is the same method used by Bane in Knightfall.
    • One episode featured a politician who used his wealth to build a giant ship to forcibly take over Gotham. Someone remarked that only someone as rich as him could get all those toys. One then wonders how that remarker didn't connect Batman to Bruce Wayne after making that statement.
      • Though, one has to wonder with all the "how to videos" from forges to hand-made wrist flamethrowers on YouTube, that someone hadn't thought that the person inside the Batman suit was just very handy with metalwork and basic technical design overall, and was just re-purposing junk into useful items.
  • Lampshaded in Batman: The Brave and the Bold by The Music Meister:
    Music Meister: His utility belt holds everything, can't find that at the mall!
  • Egghead from Adam West's Batman used this as a clue when he tried to determine Batman's secret identity; he believes Batman must be rich because crime fighting is a very expensive hobby.
  • Where it comes from is only half the issue. Some of his tools weigh tons and would normally be installed by teams of people, yet somehow make it into the Batcave unnoticed. Then there's the fact that as the Chairman of a publicly traded company (in some versions), Bruce is violating quite a few felonies in his appropriation of technology.

    Comics 
  • The Flash v1 #141, published in the Silver Age, introduced tailor Paul Gambi, who made the costumes for all the villains in the Flash's Rogues Gallery; Gambi has continued to make appearances in this role.
  • In the early years of Spider-Man, there was a recurring character called "The Tinkerer" who was allegedly the source of much villainous gadgetry.
    • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 The Tinkerer is a major villain, both empowering a bunch of C list Supervillains like Electro to become actual threats and allying himself with the Hive Mind of Nanites that appear later on.
    • Spidey himself built his web-shooters using parts he... scavenged... from his high school science lab.
      • It's not that odd; the early Lee/Ditko Spider-Man comics established Peter Parker as a teen prodigy, smart enough to invent his webbing formula (then keep it all to himself, so no one else can take advantage of super-strong, sticky fibers [which, among other things, in a moment's notice can instantly knit a full parachute from a few centiliters of fluid]). This was, in fact, pointed out during the Civil War storyline, where Tony Stark arrogantly assumed that he was the only technology/engineering prodigy on the planet capable of understanding StarkTech, and Peter Parker rather forcefully shows him otherwise.
      • Which just proves only that he didn't try very hard, that one time he got mad at Jonah and tried to sell/license it to a chemical company, only to give up when they complain, "but it evaporates! You need to redesign it first."
      • Actually, that's pretty close to Truth in Television. The adhesive used in Post-It Notes was sitting around for four years after being developed before someone got the idea to use it to create impromptu bookmarks, and another three after that before it was being sold anywhere.
    • Ultimate Spidey adapted them from devices he inherited from his scientist father's work on polymers.
      • Speaking of Ultimate Spidey, his costume was given to him by his wrestling company. When Peter and Mary Jane broke up, he had no one to repair his costume or make him a new one leading him to asking various heroes and villains whenever he ran into them where they got their costumes made.
  • In the '80s cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, it's explained that the Ordinary High-School Student is able to afford this stuff because they saved Tony Stark once and he keeps them hooked up.
  • On a related issue, in the Marvel Universe there is a firm named Damage Control, which has a contract with New York City to handle the cleanup and repairs following the many superhero battles which take place there. Leftover superweapons, battlesuits, and whatnot end up in Damage Control's "Lost and Found" department...
  • During J. Michael Straczynski's run, Spider-Man met Leo Zelinsky, a tailor in a run-down neighborhood in Queens ("What they call a 'neighborhood in transition',") who was visited by The Thing, who needed a new pair of briefs after an altercation with a fire-wielding villain. Thanks largely to word of mouth, he became the go-to guy for superhero (and some supervillain) costume needs.
    • He's very careful to arrange heroes and villains on different days, so his shop doesn't become the site of a superhero battle.
    • There was a story arc in the Deadpool comic, "Johnny Handsome", where Deadpool not only managed to enrage Loki enough to have his scarred face turned into a permanent Tom Cruise likeness (which led to several cases of mistaken identity later on), but also lost his costume, had to order a new one to be made and, for the duration of most of the arc, wore a mish-mash assortment of other characters' costumes (including Wolverine's pants and boots, Spider-Man's shirt and Dr. Octopus's arms).
  • For health issues in the Marvel Universe, there's the Night Nurse, who will patch up any injured do-gooder who stumbles into her clinic, thus explaining where a lot of superheroes get their medical care without compromising their secret identities.
    • Along the same lines, the Nomad series introduced the Undergrounders, who provided discreet medical care to those on the fringes of society.
    • There was an old Spider-Man comic where the titular hero was committed to hospital after several fractured bones. They never removed his suit while tending him! One nurse actually speculated whether the suit was sewn right on his skin. One has to only wonder if there's an anonymous medical insurance specifically aimed at superheroes.
    • In a Pre-Civil War Spider-Man arc when Spidey gets hospitalized by Electro and Vulture, the hospital staff remove his mask to treat him, but also mention a specific rule for super-people, "We sign them in under an assumed name and have a hospital-wide media blackout." This was unfortunately foiled by a photographer who let on about the hospital's location, allowing Vulture to kidnap Peter, fly him 300 feet up, rip his bandages off, and disgustedly drop him after realizing that Peter was "a nobody".
    • An X-Men character, Dr. Cecilia Reyes, was a mutant who briefly worked with the X-Men during the Zero Tolerance arc, and later on settled down as a private doctor offering anonymity to her powered patients. The list of her patients, aside from several X-Men and former X-men, also included Spider-Man and Daredevil.
  • In the Italian Disney Comics, Donald Duck has a superheroic identity known as Paperinik: he originally acquired his costume and his first weapons from the heirloom of Gentleman Thief Fantomius (an obvious reference to Allain and Souvestre's Fantomas), then shared his secret with Duckburg's inventor extraordinaire Gyro Gearloose, who since then mantained his armory of less-than-lethal supergadgets. The "Ultimates version" known as PK has him acquire a slew of much more powerful weapons and a Batman-esque lair from the possessions of mysterious billionaire Everett Ducklair (the authors of PK publicly stated that they aimed to make a very explicit parody of and homage to American comic books)
    • It's a bit debatable if you can call him a superhero, though — originally Paperinik's entire M.O. was getting back at everyone who had slighted Don in some way; this included his debtors, who he intimidated into submission in the best Mafia style, and Gladstone Gander, who got on his nerves, and so he framed him for a major theft.
    • Well, sure, that's how it started, but since then, he's a respectable superhero fighting crime. His not so heroic past happened one or two decades (in real life) ago, at least in the "Donald Duck pocket books".
  • In the Batman mini-series Batman Family, we were introduced to the Technician, an inventor who specialises in supplying high-tech gizmos to Gotham City's supervillains, including things such as a giant clockwork monkey.
  • In the 80s-90s Uncanny X-Men comic, the Mansion was equipped with Shi'ar technology from Xavier's lover, Majestrix Lilandra. The alien tech has rebuilt the mansion on the [frequent] occasion of its destruction. Damage Control also showed up a time or two.
  • Averted for Superman. He did all his own work on the Fortress of Solitude. If he got lazy, his army of super-powered robot doubles could take up the slack just fine.
    • And the movies, some prose stories and Smallville just have his fortress and costume provided courtesy of Kryptonian techno-magic. For everything else, he's stuck with Earth goods — which may explain the cheapjack cellophane S "weapon" he uses in Superman II.
  • In the Marvel Universe, some criminals buy their equipment from the Tinkerer, as mentioned above. Others get their equipment furnished by their employers (Iron Man's enemy Justin Hammer often had his scientists construct specialized weapons for the supervillains he recruited), and at least one large company runs a highly profitable black market operation in selling deadly weapons and other equipment through the "Sharper Villain Catalogue."
  • The Punisher gets most of his weapons from the criminals that he kills. Or buys top of the line black-market military hardware, using money he gets from the criminals that he kills. He also had, for a long time, a weapons supplier/inventor named Microchip, who helped him get "special" equipment to go up against supervillains... that he kills.
  • Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl II from Watchmen) is a Gadgeteer Genius/Rich Idiot with No Day Job, and thus makes his own wonderful toys.
    • He also made Rorschach's grappling gun, explaining how the vagabond had such a good gadget.
  • Although an official policeman anyway, Dick Tracy did not get his two-way wrist radio (introduced in 1946) from the government, but from industrialist "Diet" Smith. Other than that, Tracy has relied on conventional weapons common to normal police forces, such as the night sight.
  • Though he only appeared in one issue, Astro City has (had?) The Assemblyman, who apparently built weapons and gadgets for anyone with the cash. He was contracted by El Hombre to manufacture a rampaging robot for the hero to defeat in a staged fight. El Hombre's reputation was ruined when the city-smashing robot was backtraced to him.
  • The Justice Society of America has its medical personnel as key members of the team—Dr. Mid-Nite (a trained physician) and Mr. Terrific (who has PhDs in everything). They also provide medical services to other DC superheroes and their spouses, such as when Lois Lane was nearly killed.
  • The Omega Sector of The Mighty is funded by the sales of Alpha One toys, clothes, and other stuff. They have a huge headquarters.
  • Mad Man gets gadgets from Dr. Flem and sometimes... they really are toys.
  • After Civil War, Speedball meets the guy who designs the costumes for most super heroes/villains.
  • In Mad House Comic Digest #5, there's a story about a tailor who specialized in making superhero uniforms. He ended up in tears when an executive type from off the street asked him for a "normal charcoal-gray business suit," complaining that it was the first order he hadn't been able to fill.
  • In Daniel Clowes' Black Nylon, superheroes are able to buy gadgets mail order, with many having to save up to buy one or two gimmick items before getting started in the business. The titular hero funds his exploits with a stipend from the government for his work. Although it's probably public assistance money that the delusional Nylon thinks comes from heroing.

     Fan Fiction 
  • All of the villains, and most of the heroes wonder on a regular basis where Empress Mercury gets all of her awesome equipment and magic from. Where dose she come up with these remote battle drones? The Airships, the Dominate Undead Spell? Attempts to steal/emulate it is the subject of several subplots.
  • Kittlemeier in Chris Dee's Cat-Tales is revealed to make everything for both hero and villain alike, and maintains strict rules on appointment times to keep any of them from running into each other. (How Batman became okay with giving business to someone who openly arms his enemies is never really explained).
    • Kittlemeier actually debuted in a short story by Mike Resnick that was collected in "The Further Adventures of Batman" in The Eighties. So he is TM and copyright DC Comics / Bantam books, although ignored in regular DC canon.

    Film 
  • Edna "E" Mode of The Incredibles: a genius clothing designer responsible for the costumes of every superhero in the business. She knows the heroes all personally, by real name as well as moniker, and custom-designs their costumes to fit their powers (for example, Violet's suit becomes invisible with her to avoid the problem of an Invisible Streaker in a Disney movie.)
  • While Death Wish 3 had Paul Kersey using all manner of weapons with not a hint of explanation of where he got them or how he afforded them (remember, Kersey worked as a middle class architect, not possessing great wealth, emphasized in the next film in which he sees a mansion and says "This place alone costs more than I could make if I worked for the rest of my life"), in Death Wish 4 The Crackdown, a man who discovered that Kersey operated as the vigilante agrees to fund his struggle with narcotics dealers and gives him the name of someone to provide him weapons.
  • The Damon Wayans Affectionate Parody Blankman has the title hero build super-gadgets out of junk.
  • Condorman toys with this trope in a scene where the Big Bad, Krokov, is trying to figure out what the titular hero is doing with a heavily armed racecar/hydrofoil, among other gadgets, and realizes that he's getting the ideas from comic books — that he wrote. This leads to one of the most memorable lines in the entire film (quoted on the film page).
  • Q Branch (Q standing for 'Quartermaster') in the James Bond franchise. A Running Gag through the movies involves Q getting upset over Bond's frequent destruction of government property during the course of his adventures.
  • In Megamind, there's actually a "store in Romania" that deals in Supervillain paraphernalia.
  • Kick-Ass apparently got all his gear off of Ebay.
    • Big Daddy and Hit Girl bought a working jetpack online.
  • In Mystery Men, the heroes decide they are underpowered, so its off to Dr Heller for Canned Tornadoes, a Blame Thrower and the incredible Shrink Ray, which only shrinks clothing.
    Mr. Furious (watching the Shrink Ray take effect): My pants feel like they're shrinking too.
  • In Mallrats, Jay says this after Silent Bob saves them both with his grappling hook.
  • In The Three Musketeers (2011), the Duke of Buckingham visits France in a Cool Airship. King Louis asks why he doesn't have one of those things.

    Literature 
  • Averted in The Executioner series, where Vigilante Man Mack Bolan simply steals the money he needs from The Mafia families he's fighting, much to their fury. His weapons are then bought on the black market or stolen (Bolan always leaves more than enough money to cover the cost behind). A less plausible toy is his "war wagon", a 26-foot GMC motor home equipped with laser-enhanced infa-red cameras, electronic surveillance devices, and retractable guided missiles, constructed with the help of moonlighting NASA engineers sympathetic to his cause.
  • In the Penetrator novels, also from Pinnacle, Mark Hardin (who had a base as the Penetrator in a borax mine), created or purchased various weapons with the help of a professor. Many of these items received profiles in a back-up section called The Penetrator's Combat Catalog.
  • In The Further Adventures of Batman, an anthology of short Batman fiction published in 1989, the story "Neutral Ground" by Mike Resnick describes for the first time Kittlemeier's Shop, run by a little old Jewish tailor who provides the costumes and gadgetry for all of Gotham's heroes and villains. Since then, Kittlemeier's has been spotted in both fan fiction (see above) and canon stories.
  • The Spider often relied on Professor Brownlee for technological assistance.
  • In the July 2009 novel No Mercy by John Gilstrap, the first in a prospective series, the protagonist, Jonathan Grave, using the codename Scorpion, works as an independent hostage rescuer without sanction of the law. The novel mentions using an auto repair garage used to handling "under the table" repairs". Grave has them fix up bullet holes and other incriminating traces of his missions.
  • The Saint and the Domino Lady often "confiscated" funds from criminals who preyed on the public. The Arrow and the Avenger did much the same.
  • Wealthy men funded the Hawker and the Expeditor.
  • Played with in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, specifically the Rogue and Wraith Squadron novels. One of the Rogues was a officer for Corellian Security; his astromech droid had special programming and hardware used to deal with issues thrown at them. A Wraith, on the other hand, had an "interesting childhood" as the daughter of a Old Republic security officer not even Vader could track down.
  • Mr. Church Has a Friend in the Industry. Any Industry.

    Pinball 
  • Invoked in the original version of Stern Pinball's Batman pinball game; the player must repeatedly visit the WayneTech mini-playfield and collect eight different weapons to recruit Lucius Fox. Later averted with the discounted "Standard" edition, which removed the mini-playfield.
  • Similarly, Sega Pinball's Batman Forever gives a random Bat-gadget if the player shoots the right loop when it is off; collecting several gadgets lights the kickback.

    Television 
  • Cosmo Kramer, resident Cloud Cuckoo Lander of Seinfeld, has said and been told on numerous occasions that he has no job whatsoever. Yet, somehow, he can afford a hot tub (and generator) the width of a room in a standard New York apartment complex, dozens of expensive-looking suits (and, on one occasion, a leather briefcase), a constant flow of high-grade Cuban cigars, and several tons of junk food.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel:
    • One really must wonder, where does the casts get their giant-ass arsenal of weapons from? Is there a mail-order catalog for all your slicing, impaling and chopping needs?
    • In real life, there are several.
  • MST3K scoffed at the extent of Diabolik's paraphernalia and hideout when they reviewed his film, noting the logistical problems of erecting such a base "You know, it's hard to get contractors to do this kind of work. Signing the complete secrecy agreement on pain of death and all". The print version of Diabolik explained that a criminal combine had raised Diabolik, and that upon reaching adulthood he slew their leader and usurped its resources.
  • Parodied in That Mitchell and Webb Look, in which a supervillain hires a contractor to construct his evil lair, including secret revolving walls and trap doors to dispose of troublesome minions. The contractor raises numerous health and safety objections.
  • In Good Eats, Alton says this as a Shout-Out, usually as a response to the food scientist or other informational guest of the day brings out (i.e. the Mystery Food Science Theatre 3000 viewing device). He has more than his share of crazy toys though; a drill-powered pepper gun, giant cow models, a possessed refrigerator and a basement that alternately appears as a root cellar, vinegar cellar, pickle cellar and a dungeon torture chamber/equipment lab complete with Igor.
  • Lampshaded several times in Drake & Josh with Megan's various gadgets. Not even the parents seem to know where she gets the stuff. Though, she did say at least once "I know a guy."
    • Inverted in the spiritual successor Series/iCarly, where Spencer gets all his stuff from his buddy's appropriately named family members: Socko (socks), Tyler (ties), Otto(cars), etc.
  • Sometimes you have to wonder how certain civilians/groups manage to get their own morphers, weapons, motorcycles, Zords, etc. to start up a Power Rangers team. Sure, to a certain extent, humans now have access to alien technology, but still...
  • Shawn says this almost word for word in Psych when Despereaux escapes with a grapple gun.
  • Averted on Mythbusters, where an explanation of how they were able to obtain things like a second-hand cement mixer or an airplane cockpit on the (relatively) cheap often makes up a goodly part of any given episode.

    Video Games 
  • In the Nintendo GameCube remake of Resident Evil, a set of diary extracts reveals that the architect who designed the mansion was killed by his employers.
  • Mercenaries allows the player, via PDA, to purchase everything from jeeps to helicopters to ballistic missile strikes from an online store owned by the Russian Mafia (with free shipping nonetheless). In the sequel, players had to deal directly with representatives of the factions they wanted to purchase from, and airstikes or gear would be delivered by pilots in the player's employ.
    • Similarly, Bobby Ray's Guns and Things in Jagged Alliance 2 will ship fully automatic weapons, disposable rocket launchers and other military hardware to any major airport in the world (although you can only ever use one, you can send them to a second you can access, but the stuff never comes.)
      • The second airport is there for one reason and one reason only: sending flowers to Psycho Bitch Deidranna. And then she slaps Elliot.
    • In the same vein as Mercenaries, Just Cause lets the secret agent Player Character call in vehicle drops and extractions from Agency helicopters on his PDA, which is a good thing considering how freaking huge the game world is. Taxpayer money buys all these toys, presumably. You can also increase your standing with Rebel forces and the friendly drug dealing faction to get better guns and more hideouts to extract to.
  • In Persona 3, the main characters buy their weapons and armor from Officer Kurosawa in the police station in Paulownia Mall. While the backstory explains that he's a collector of rare antique weapons, this still doesn't explain how he also manages to get his hands on upgrades for Aigis, a secret Shadow-fighting robot developed by the Kirijo Group. It's also implied that he has connections, although it's never stated who exactly these connections are with.
    • Since your team has the total backing of said weapon developers it's not hard to imagine them finding ways to pass the technology down to the team. The better question is why you have to pay for it at all.
  • Tech Romancer features Twinzam V, an Expy of Getter Robo piloted by two Ordinary Elementary School Students. In their own storyline, it seems to be All Just a Dream, but when they appear in the others' storylines, no explanation is given for where these kids got a Super Robot.
  • One level of Goldeneye Rogue Agent has the titular character running around a black market showroom of high-tech and extremely expensive goodies for villains to buy and use against the peoples of the free world, including things like nuclear submarines. As an agent of Goldfinger, Goldeneye has access to a virtually unlimited line of credit and can use it to buy several of these wicked toys, though the bossman will eventually call up and complain that he's going to go broke if the spending spree continues.
  • Plants vs. Zombies gives you the Bloom and Doom Seed Co. as the provider of your lawn defense plants
  • In Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Sam meets with a colleague in charge of "acquiring" transport and weaponry at each mission briefing.
  • How does Sonic the Hedgehog's Dr. Eggman afford all of his building materials? You'd think a villain would just steal the stuff, but he rarely actually gets in trouble with the military and Vector once even commented that "Eggman must be really rich" and wondered if he'd hire them. In Sonic X, he sends Decoe and Bocoe to a hardware store to stock up on supplies. Lots and lots of supplies.
    • If the comics are taken as Canon (and Sega says they are), then Ivo had mines and production facilities all over Mobius to support his armies. It's reasonable to assume (and explicit in the comics) that Eggman took over these when he arrived. (Virtually) unlimited resources aren't that hard to come by when you run the planet.
    • In Sonic Riders, Eggman supposedly has some ownership over a company called "Meteotech" and makes money via selling his robots as security to companies. Plus he does make casinos and circuses, which could be a legitimate venture.
  • In the video game of Family Guy Stewie Griffin actually says the trope as a remark to Bertram.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Major Kirrahe (if he survived the first game) decides to demonstrate the grenade-firing Scorpion pistol on Cerberus troops;
    Garrus: How do I not have one of those?!
    • Steve Cortez implies this was the reaction of the Alliance R&D guys after Shepard turned over the Normandy during the interim between the second and third games, quickly rushing to snap up all of the weapons, armour, vehicles and technology that Shepard acquired. Explains where it all went, at least...
    • In Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, any weapon Shepard acquires (including the antique Lancer and xeno-tech Particle Rifle in the latter game), aside from Heavy Weapons, instantaneously spawns copies for everyone in the party. It's explained that the copies are built in the on-board armory (being able to use them before returning to the Normandy is just an Acceptable Break from Reality), but unlike tech lab upgrades, Shepard never has to pay for extras no matter how esoteric the gun is. The same thing happens with weapon upgrades, grenades, ammo powers and pretty much every other addon; obtain one, and you'll have enough for any situation with no fuss.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies the last witness is an international spy known only as The Phantom. Several times during his testimony, he whips out some gadget, and Wright eventually asks this.
    (And where can I get myself some?)

    Webcomics 
  • In Sluggy Freelance it was originally left unexplained how Riff, a guy with no apparent job, is able to get a hold of the materials for building his ray guns, giant robots, and nuclear reactors. It's eventually explained that Riff was working as a freelance inventor for Hereti Corp, who supplied him with "the biggest, newest toys." Though that still doesn't explain how he happened to have the Book of E-Ville lying around his house.
  • Mentioned by name in The Wotch.
  • In Sunstone Ally has a staggeringly impressive collection of BDSM toys; including an entire wardrobe of custom made outfits for both of her subs and herself, cuffs, chains, restraints and suspension rigs, a custom made mermaid outfit, the infamous "see-saw," a made to order bed just for sex and last but certainly not least an actual chariot. We are shown that Alan and Chris make a living out of making these things for people and that Ally is really quite well off, but Word of God states that Ally has spent forty grand on this collection.
  • Lady Spectra And Sparky have a lighthouse headquarters, a tricked-out Thememobile, and all kinds of advanced laser weaponry...all on Lady Spectra's schoolteacher salary.

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, Phase has incredible amounts of money — especially for a high-schooler. She's paid devisers to build her gadgets, and she's been seen ordering special gizmos from a website for supervillains.
    • Justified in that Phase was one of the heirs to the Goodkind fortune, and the money he has now is explicitly stated to be what his father paid him as part of a settlement agreement. And it's equally explicitly stated that Ayla considers the money s/he got is a pittance, compared to the money he would have inherited, if he hadn't mutated.
    • In Addition to Phase, tons of other characters, especially devisors and Gadgeteers, have all kinds of nifty tech gizmos... most of which they build themselves. Where do they get the money for this? Every single one of them has their own research expenses granted by the school so they can build stuff. it isn't made clear if they are expected to pay it back or not.
  • Linkara's got a magic gun, where'd he purchase that?
    • His later weapons are outstripping even the gun by a large margin.
  • Doctor Steel makes them himself!
  • Averted in Sonny Gets Mad Scienced, where the titular main character a minion asks where his Mad Scientist captor funds his base and the mercenary employees.
    Nurse: He doesn't say. We talk about it in the break room, and it's either corporate sponsorship, military sponsorship, or he hustles little old ladies out of their pensions.
    Sonny: What about credit cards?
    Nurse: Like the movies do? Didn't quite think of that.

    Western Animation 
  • Lampshaded by Phong in Reboot when Megabyte returns with an armada out of nowhere:
    Phong: Where does he get those ABCs from?
  • An episode in the third season of X-Men: Evolution showed the Xavier School mansion being rebuilt by a construction company with the slogan "We keep your secrets."
    • In Ultimate X-Men it shows Xavier hiring a construction crew, but clouding their minds so that they cannot see the students.
  • Kim Possible gets most of her stuff from her friend Wade, who builds custom-made disguised spy-gear for the Action Girl on the go. Villains, however, buy direct from HenchCo: proud provider of henchmen and henchman accessories owned and operated by classic Corrupt Corporate Executive Jack Hench. There are also trade magazines and conventions for villains, with well-stocked dealer rooms and catalogs. "Wacky Wally's Weather Machines" is the one stop shop for total control of the local climate. Dr. Drakken sends Shego to steal from them all.
    • There's also a reality show, Evil Eye for the Villain Guy, an expy/parody of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.
  • The Guild of Calamitous Intent from The Venture Bros. offers logistical and legal support to its members, provided said members obey the rules of the Guild. They also offer super-scientists and heroes deals where they'll provide them with a selection of villains to pick an arch-nemesis from, much like a dating service.
    • Very much like a dating service.
    • Failing that, the rogues gallery can just purchase their sundries from Dr. Venture himself. In the episode "Tag Sale, You're it" Venture, strapped for cash, has a yard sale to sell all of his father's old inventions. The complete rogues gallery shows up for this event.
  • Come to think of it, who built the Tracy Island base in Thunderbirds?
    • ... and how did they get Thunderbird 5 into orbit without anyone noticing?
    • Ah, now, this was explained in one of the '90s comics. Jeff Tracy, as well as being a former astronaut, is head of a company called Tracy Aerospace, a company that builds advanced air and spacecraft on a regular basis — nobody in the factories batted an eyelid at the weird components they were asked to build, and the vehicles were assembled either on Tracy Island or in space.
  • During The Powerpuff Girls movie, there is a scene where a veritable legion of mutated monkeys start to ape Mojo Jojo's style and unleash a variety of evil plans and doomsday weapons on Townsville, while Mojo stands there dully protesting. While it didn't make it into the final product, according to the DVD commentary, these protests originally included a befuddled "Where are you guys getting all this stuff?!"
  • Danny Phantom where The Hero gets all his Fenton gadgets and doo-dads from his own basement which substitutes as a lab for ghost research. One episode shows his house also possesses a weapons vault, a possible other source for ghost combat goodies.
  • The protagonists of Captain Planet and the Planeteers have some really fancy vehicles that not only seem to be several decades ahead of development, but are also 100% eco-friendly, that they don't bother explaining. They are sponsored by Gaia herself so maybe she has a few tricks up her sleeve, but if they have tech like that, why don't they release it to the public and get rid of all those gas-guzzling cars?
  • In SWAT Kats, the titular heroes live and work in a junkyard that apparently gets at least some of its stuff from a police organization that actually has the need for advanced jet fighters and tanks.
  • Freakazoid! has a fully equipped Freakalair after getting his powers, apparently without any construction work or expenses. It's a cartoon. He can do that.
    • In some episodes, he implies that the Freakalair is, in fact, located inside Dexter's head. This does not in the least explain how his mute butler Ingmar gets there.
      • That's the Freakazone, not to be confused with the Freakalair (Freakazoid even says that). The Freakalair can be located by taking a roller coaster in Dexter's closet.
    • This is lampshaded in the first two appearances of the Freakalair. In the first instance Freakazoid points out that he has it "in this episode" and that they're "testing it out" then, upon its second appearance he explains how they tested out in an early show and it's going to stay.
      • This implies the place, even in universe, was built by the production crew.
      • The episode which introduces Jonesy has Freakazoid explain that Ingmar built the entire Freakalair himself.
  • Justice League, "Secret Origins": Superman asks Batman if his stockholders know about the newly-commissioned Watchtower, which Batman handwaves with "hidden as a line item in the Space R&D budget." Sure, that hides the funding, but says nothing about assembly either pre-launch or in orbit. (Although with Superman available, Batman at least wouldn't need a launch vehicle — or if Clark had a spare weekend, a construction crew.)
    • One must also wonder about the much larger, much more advanced Watchtower seen in Unlimited (the one with the Space Cannon).
      • With dozens of heroes, many of them Millionaire Playboys in their off hours, several powerful enough to move planets, including some Physical Gods, and access to Kryptonian, Martian, Thanagarian, New Genesis and Oan technology? No problem.
    • In the Teen Titans comics, Robin was able to get a Batmobile shipped to San Francisco by hiding it in the Batarang budget. (It's bigger than you'd think.) And he would've gotten away with it too if not for Kid Flash...
  • In Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the heroes' executive-mandated supercomputer was initially taken for granted. However, by the third season, so many fans had sent letters asking where it had come from that the writers went and wrote an episode surrounding not only the origin of the team itself, but their computer. (As it turned out, it was a gift from Tony Stark.)
  • Gizmoduck from DuckTales is easy enough to explain—he's the bodyguard of the world's richest person. Darkwing Duck from the same 'verse (though with his own show) doesn't seem to have the same setup—he's shown as having many gadgets and gizmos even before the series starts. After breaking a (not the) Fourth Wall he's asked about this, and promptly shushes the inquisitive fan. Darkwing worked on occasion for the government group S.H.U.S.H. a parody of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the Marvel Universe and may have received both his salary and access to technology from there.
  • Inspector Gadget is a wonderful toy.
  • Ms. Valerie Frizzle, enough said. Lampshaded by the class at least once, though that's generally about her clothes instead of her wonderful toys.
  • Wile E. Coyote has Acme, Inc to supply all his gadgets, but how does he pay for them? Apply MST3K Mantra here.
    • Or a good money back guarantee. Just send in a copy of your medical bill!
    • Plus, he could sue them for defective merchandise.
    • Maybe he's Acme's beta tester?
    • Looney Tunes: Back in Action proposes that he works for Acme. He still has to order the products through an Amazon.com-esque website, though, for some reason.
    • According to Jon Stewart's Earth (The Book), Acme stays in business, despite faulty merchandise, by providing "free shipping to remote desert locations."
    • In one cartoon it turns out the roadrunner is the one shipping them to him, purely for the lulz.
  • We see Phineas and Ferb buy their supplies, but what kind of allowance do their parents give them to afford this? (Their mom was a famous pop star once, so if she still has some of that money laying around...)
  • VeggieTales has Batman parody Larry-Boy, whose gadgets were apparently all invented and installed by Alfred (yes that's really his butler's name). Without his knowledge or permission. "I like to tinker in my spare time. I also dabble in biochemistry, nuclear medicine... you know, this and that."
  • The penguins in The Penguins of Madagascar have quite a few gadgets and an awful lot of heavy-duty weaponry. While some of it is fairly obviously stolen or constructed by Kowalski, one is still left wondering where they get their dynamite, grenades, and teeny-tiny little pink remote-control cars.
  • The Fairly OddParents, has this with the inevitable in-universe Unfortunate Implications in the "Inspection Detention" episode. Specifically, he keeps wishing for items which someone else happens to be stealing, and becomes a suspect.
    • In "The Big Scoop", itself a Perspective Flip Lower Deck Episode of "A Wish Too Far", Chester and AJ are not fooled by Timmy's excuses for his new stuff and nearly stumble onto his godparents.
  • The villain of My Goldfish is Evil is an Evil Genius goldfish in a bowl, so there's no explanation for how he can create hi-tech gadgets beyond "He's really smart."
  • Miss Macbeth, the Sadist Teacher villain of INK: Invisible Network of Kids, has a secret lab under the school and can invent all kinds of evil devices, yet when it comes to teaching schoolwork she's a total moron.
    • She's mentioned buying some of her gadgets from some kind of factory.
  • Family Guy's Peter Griffin crashes both a customized "Peter-Copter", with his face on it, and a "Hinden-Peter" blimp, also with face, into his neighbour Joe Swanson's lawn and house respectively in the same episode. After the latter, Joe angrily asks "HOW CAN YOU AFFORD THESE THINGS?!" There's also a Cutaway Gag of Stewie criticizing Batman for expecting the Batcave to stay secret.
    Stewie: Look, you can't expect to hire sixty workers to dig a cave under your house and then keep it a secret. I mean, those men live in this town!
    Batman: Yeah, but I told them it was part of a geological survey.
    Stewie: Batman, Batman, - they built a Lazy Susan for your nuclear car. That's something they consider conversation-worthy.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Where exactly did Dexter (and no, not that Dexter) get all the stuff for his lab? For that matter, where did Mandark, whose lab is above ground? Well according to FusionFall, they both sell inventions (or at least the patents to their inventions). Then again, Fusion Fall is set about five years after the series.
  • In Static Shock, Static's base is an abandoned gas station full of things that his best friend (Who turns out to be a Gadgeteer Genius) made. Where they find the tools for these things, however, is never explained.
    • The pair have been seen hanging out in a junkyard...
  • Lampshaded in The Legend of Korra after the bi-planes arrive.
    Bolin: Where does Hiroshi find the time to keep inventing new evil machines!?

     Real Life 
  • To answer Jim Steinman, Chicago likely gets all that meat from Texas, Kansas City and other places around it. Adidas of course has advertising. Not that anyone asked...


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alternative title(s): Where Does She Get All Those Wonderful Toys
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